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   John D. Cannon papers 1900-1984 [Bulk Dates: 1966-1969]

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Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); John D. Cannon Papers; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

COinS Metadata available (e.g., for Zotero).

Summary Information

At a Glance

Call No.:UA#0222
Bib ID:12135424 View CLIO record
Creator(s):Cannon, John D.
Title:John D. Cannon papers 1900-1984 [Bulk Dates: 1966-1969]
Physical description:3.84 linear feet (3 record cartons and 2 document boxes).
Language(s):In English.
Access: This collection is located off-site. This collection has restrictions.  More information »



The collection is arranged in 5 series: Series I: Personal Files; Series II: Sermons, Speeches and Writings; Series III: Student Strike, 1968; Series IV: Subject Files; and Series V: Publications--Collected.

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Scope and Content

The collection consists of correspondence, memos, publications, reports, press clippings, press releases, sermons and speeches retained by the Rev. John D. Cannon, University Chaplain at Columbia University, 1966-1969.

Series I: Personal Files

This series contains Rev. Cannon's personal correspondence, lectures, notebooks and collected biographical information such as an interview, an oral history and newspaper mentions.

Series II: Sermons, Speeches and Writings

Arranged in chronological order, this series consists predominantly of Rev. Cannon's sermons and speeches given during his chaplaincy at Columbia University.

Series III: Student Strike, 1968

Arranged alphabetically, series three encompasses news releases, periodicals, publications, reports, and student group information collected by Rev. Cannon about the 1968 Columbia Student Strike.

Series IV: Subject Files

This series contains files related to Rev. Cannon's campus ministry activities and committee work. The series has an alphabetical arrangement.

Series V: Publications--Collected

This series contains publications collected by Rev. Cannon and deals with the political, religious, and social upheavals facing university ministries during the late 1960s. These publications, many of them rare, contain Cannon's marginalia and notes evincing the development of his thoughts about how to lead a chaplaincy in a time of great campus turmoil. This series is arranged alphabetically by author. If the author is not known, the publication is arranged alphabetically by either article or periodical title.

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Using the Collection

Access Restrictions

 This collection is located off-site.

This collection has restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. The RBML maintains ownership of the physical material only. Copyright remains with the creator and his/her heirs. The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); John D. Cannon Papers; Box and Folder; University Archives, Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Finding aid in repository; folder level control.

Other Finding Aids

Reminiscences of John D. Cannon: oral history, Columbia Crisis of 1968 project , Columbia Center for Oral History, Butler Library, Columbia University, 1968 .

University Protest and Activism Collection, 1958-1999 [Bulk Dates: 1968-1972] [UA#007] .

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About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Archives; machine readable finding aid created by Columbia University Libraries Digital Library Program Division

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Christopher M. Laico in April-May, 2017.

Finding aid written by Christopher M. Laico in August-September, 2017.

Machine readable finding aid generated from MARC-AMC source via XSLT conversion September 13, 2017. Finding aid written in English.
    2017-09-13 xml document instance created by Christopher M. Laico.

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Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Clippings (information artifacts).PortalCLIOArchiveGRID


HeadingCUL Archives:
CUL Collections:
Nat'l / Int'l Archives:
Cannon, John D.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
College chaplains.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
College students--Religious life.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
College students.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Strike, 1968.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University--Students.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Columbia University.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gay college students--United States.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Gay liberation movement--United States |x History.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Student strikes--New York (State)--New York.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Student-administrator relationships.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID
Universities and colleges--Sermons.PortalCLIOArchiveGRID

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History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

John Dyson Cannon (1934-2014) was born in St. Alban's, England. Until 1940, he lived in a London suburb, when the first of the German blitzes destroyed much of the city, and children were sent for safety to the United States. Upon arrival in America, he lived with his foster parents in Kennebunk, ME. In 1952, he graduated from Mt. Hermon School for Boys in Mt. Hermon, MA, followed by Harvard College (1956), and Union Theological Seminary, New York City (1959).

In 1959, Rev. Cannon was ordained a priest by Bishop Horace W.B. Donegan (1900-1991). He first served as an assistant to the rector at Saint Thomas Protestant Episcopal Church in Manhattan, NY. In 1963, Rev. Cannon began his chaplaincy ministry at Columbia University serving as Assistant Chaplain in the Protestant Office (1963-1964), Acting University Chaplain (1964-1966), and University Chaplain (1966-1969).

In the course of his tenure at Columbia University, Rev. Cannon was considered a new breed of clergyman, whose liberal politics and theology fostered a strong orientation toward progressive social action. In this regard, he was closely identified with many campus protest organizations. To illustrate, Rev. Cannon supported the creation of the Student Homophile League, now the Columbia Queer Alliance, protested the Vietnam War and racial inequality. He also recommended the elimination of the University Chaplaincy and the University's relationship with the Episcopal Church. These preceding actions and other projects such as the establishment of the Postscrypt, a coffee house located under St. Paul's Chapel created tensions between Rev. Cannon and the university administration. In October 1968, citing "a real barrier" with the administration and the "powerful pressures" placed upon the chaplain's office, Rev. Cannon announced his plans to resign before the end of the academic year upon the completion of a report undertaken by the Committee on Religious Life. This committee chaired by Rev. Cannon and formed by the University President engaged in an extensive, comprehensive review of religious programs, procedures, and policies at Columbia University.

After Columbia University, Rev, Cannon served a brief tenure at the Academy for Educational Development. Beginning in the mid-1970s, he worked as an assistant to Bishop Paul Moore, Jr. (1919-2003). In 1975, Rev. Cannon became the tenth Rector of Saint John's Church in Greenwich Village, NY. By 1985, he had returned to chaplaincy and teaching at St. Paul's School in Concord, NH. Rev. Cannon retired from the ministry in 1995.

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